Sunday, December 09, 2012


Night Time Electric Storm [Across The Flat Plain] Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm
In recent weeks wild electric storms have sparked their way across Queensland. A couple of weeks ago, around mid-day, I was caught in a wild storm as I was driving along the very busy Coronation Drive, here in Brisbane. I, and many other drivers, had to stop, turn on our warning lights and sit out the storm. We had to stop because the rain was so heavy there was no visibility. The wind played havoc with nearby trees and anything laying loose on the ground. Thankfully only small hail stones fell from the sky crashing harmlessly into my car. Much larger ones apparently pummelled properties, gardens and cars in neighbouring suburbs. I was lucky.
Again a couple of weeks ago I was caught in another storm, but managed to shelter under a service station's roof. This time it was dusk. As the night sky enveloped, lightning spectacularly lit up the sky. From my safe haven, I marvelled at nature's electric 'personality'. 
For readers from overseas, summer-time storms are common in Queensland and Australia. Often they do not produce much rain, but they certainly provide a spectacle and unfortunately they also often cause major damage. If there is rain, it can fall very heavily, causing flash flooding in both city and country.
These recent spectacular storms have reminded me of the storms I witnessesed and experienced as a child on my parent's farm on the flat treeless Pirrinuan Plain, betweeen Dalby and Jimbour, on Queensland's fertile Darling Downs. My childhood environ was often referred to 'God's own country' because the rich deep black soil could grow anything.
The flatness of the landscape, with its endless horizons [regular readers will know I have written about these before] provided a broad canvas for nature's displays. These included relentless blue skies with wisps of white clouds floating playfully, greenish coloured clouds menacingly promising hail and causing my Father distress about potential crop damage, and night time magic whispering from the twinkling Milky Way.  
Another night time sky was a totally black one. Totally black because storm clouds swamped the glitter of stars and suffocated moon shine. However, storms accompanied by electic lightning, provided a 'show' unlike any other. Flashes of stark white light seemingly from Heaven struck the ground with a shocking immediacy that both terrified and astonished. Momentary silhouettes of familiar landmarks and shapes transformed the landscape into a beautiful but almost night marish setting.
As a child, I was never really scared during these wild storms, yet I knew people [and animals] who were/are. Dogs particularly hate wild electric storms of lightening and thunder! I've owned a number of dogs who vigourously welcome being allowed inside during a storm.
Night Time Electric Storm [Across The Flat Plain] Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm
My new painting Night Time Electric Storm [Across The Flat Plain] is inspired by my childhood memories and recent storm events here in Brisbane. It is also triggered by photographs my brother Wilfred Brimblecombe has uploaded onto his new BLOG  particularly those he uploaded on posts dated December 1 and 2 [Pirrinuan Tornado]. These photographs are of our childhood landscape and they stir sentient memories of the open space and endless horizons, that embraced those who lived there in an ongoing performance, which demanded 'audience' participation. Without barriers, such as hills and mountains, bushland and forests the open space enveloped us.
There was and is no escape. No hiding.
In Night Time Electric Storm [Across The Flat Plain] I have painted a wild electric storm that lights up a night sky, revealing a silhouette of existence on a distant horizon. The silos on the right, a sign of human productivity, yet seemingly insignificant aganst electrically charged nature. Anyone who has exerienced nature's 'whiplash' through storm, hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, volcano, earth quake is humbled. The weaving red line, which I was compelled to paint, suggests potency, fertility, fury, passion. It tells us that underlying energy forces exist. It also draws us into the scene inviting us to be part of nature's passion.
I like the way the lightning appears like upside down trees...regular readers will know why. The age-old trancultural/religious tree-of-life symbol is a major visual guide in my work. The lightning seems to re-energise life at the same time as tantalisingly revealing life's core secrets [momentarily].

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